Why make a garden design?

By Alan Hughes,Garden,April 20, 2020

By Andrew Duff, Garden Design Faculty Director.

Today we want our gardens to be many things, and a bewildering array of enticing plants and products are available to fulfil our every whim. A carefully considered garden design that’s suited to your taste and horticultural requirements will give you aesthetic pleasure and also confidence that your garden will be practical and easy to maintain, so that you have more time to enjoy it.

What do you need to do?

In order to achieve this you will need to think through what you want in your garden and make a list of priorities. Some of these will be concerned with aesthetics such as colour, atmosphere and style, but many will be very down to earth and practical.

The basis of all good design is a harmonious balance of form and function – that is to say, the visual and aesthetic impact and the practical requirements. The creative combination of these two elements is what makes garden design such fun – and what will make your garden unique. Consider the watering can. It is a functional object so its design prioritises its practical qualities over aesthetic ones – not always successfully. There are numerous watering cans on the market but many of them are too heavy, too small or unbalanced when full – a well-designed watering can is easy to use, durable and a sensible colour.

On the other hand, a garden pergola is primarily a place of aesthetic pleasure and this is reflected in its design – the balance is tipped towards form rather than function. While a pergola has to be sufficiently sturdy to support plants in full leaf in all weathers, it should be pleasing to the senses, suited to its allotted space and should create an atmosphere of delight.

Now the world is confined to the home, those lucky enough to have a garden are newly appreciative of the pleasure and relaxation that the garden offers.

The problems generated by the virus underline the fact that nothing good comes without a price and this is the ideal time to look around you and re-asses your designs and planting – or indeed consider fresh research, new ideas and new planting plans.   This will generate some hard gardening hours but they will be even more rewarding than the gym.   The end result will be a prettier garden and a much sleeker figure!

Meanwhile have a look at the work of other designers for your inspiration and don’t forget that the world is still full of new clients.

This is a brilliant section from our Design Your Own Garden course. Our practicing garden design tutors will hold your hand whilst you design your own garden.  Find out more here: